Engaged Learning

Contact Information

Website: www.uis.edu/oel/
Email: oel@uis.edu
Phone: (217) 206-6640
Location: BRK 482

The Office of Engaged Learning (OEL) provides inclusive and relevant high impact and engaged learning experiences aligned with UIS students’ diverse interests and needs. Engaged learning experiences are contextually designed to develop a student’s knowledge, skills, abilities, and relevant experiences as they relate to professional, cultural, social, and civic education and career objectives. Additionally, OEL staff explores and develops partnerships with campus and external stakeholders by consulting with and supporting those interested in creating and facilitating 21st Century U.S. and international educational engagement initiatives. 

OEL Programs and Courses

Internships and Prior Learning Program
IPL 300ECCE: Internship Applied Learning2-12
IPL 301ECCE: Project Applied Learning2-12
IPL 305ECCE: Undergraduate Prior Learning Portfolio Development3-6
or IPL 501 Graduate Prior Learning Portfolio Development
IPL 499Tutorial1-12
Service Learning
IPL 202ECCE: Service-Learning Immersion3
IPL 362ECCE: Social Change and Leadership3
Study Away Program
UNI 262ECCE: Global Experience Program: Immigration and Human Trafficking3
UNI 460ECCE: Global Experience Seminar1-12
UNI 470ECCE: Global Experience Exchange4-18
UNI 480ECCE: Global Experience Program4-18

Internships and Prior Learning Program

Contact Information

Website: www.uis.edu/ipl/
Email: ipl@uis.edu
Phone: (217)206-6640
Location: BRK 482

The Internships and Prior Learning Program (IPL) stresses practical experience, professional development, and the value of self-directed learning. IPL encompasses four academic areas of study related to engaged learning which include: Internships (national and international), Projects (professional and research), Service-Learning, and Prior Learning Assessment. All IPL courses with the exception of Service-Learning courses require application submission and approval prior to registration.

Internships incorporate engaged learning experiences by enabling students to apply theory, expand knowledge, determine additional learning needs, explore careers, gain real-world experience, and develop insight relative to public, social, and cultural issues. Internships emphasize self-directed learning in an academically sponsored experience and facilitates extremely useful opportunities for students to explore, identify and develop:

  • Career interest areas.
  • Learning needs. (i.e. Do I want to go to grad school?)
  • Employability skills and experience that can be added to a resume.
  • Networking opportunities with professionals in the field.
  • Increased awareness of community, diversity, and public affairs.

Internships can be developed throughout the U.S. and internationally and can be affiliated with a number of career areas such as business, management, and administration; government and public administration; education and training; health science; human services; and information technology, to name a few.

The IPL internships fulfill portions of the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) requirement. To earn credit, students must be a degree-seeking undergraduate student enrolled IPL 300 while completing the internship.


Projects are a form of engaged learning experience and provide similar objectives and benefits as internships. Projects incorporate developing an end product that demonstrates work and reflection of learnings obtained throughout the semester. Project work requires independent motivation, excellent organizational skills and attention to self-imposed deadlines. The Project should relate to one’s academic major and requires approval by both the student’s department and an IPL Coordinator. Examples of a Project include:

  • Research project with a faculty member at UIS or another institution
  • Writing project (fiction or nonfiction)
  • Entrepreneurial endeavor such as starting a business
  • Audit of a nonprofit organization’s computer system
  • Creation of new software or a new app
  • Study Away experience (in accordance with guidelines)

To earn credit, students must be a degree-seeking undergraduate student enrolled in IPL 301. The IPL Project fulfills portions of the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE).

Prior Learning Assessment

Prior Learning Assessment allows qualified students to earn academic credit for college-level experiential and lifelong learning activities acquired outside of the traditional classroom. This is particularly valuable to those with an extensive background affiliated with a profession, military experience, community service and volunteer work, relevant travel or hobbies, or independent research. Students are required to develop a portfolio(s) to demonstrate and describe concrete learning experiences that can be transferable and applied to situations outside of the setting in which it was learned. The portfolio allows students to:

  • Reflect on relevant experiences
  • Articulate how experiences were learned
  • Discuss the meaning of the experiences on both personal and global levels
  • Describe ways in which you have, or will, apply and/or use those learnings in the future.

Students eligible to enroll in IPL 305/501 must be admitted to UIS, chosen a major, completed 48 semester hours of credit, and met with an advisor to determine if prior learning credit is an option and aligns with degree requirements. Portfolios are the only prior learning assessment method eligible for the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) credit. Credit hours earned will be posted at the end of the applicable semester to official UIS academic transcripts with the designation of CPL (Credit for Prior Learning).

Contact Admissions for detailed information about the additional options listed below for assessing experiential learning:

  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP); standardized general and subject matter exams
  • Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES); series of exams used by military personnel
  • American Council on Education (ACE); evaluates courses offered by large corporations, government agencies, and the military


Service-Learning courses explore the connections of academic theory and the practical needs of the community while expanding overall knowledge of community-based problems. Students are required to perform volunteer service hours to further enhance the process of self-reflection, self-discovery, and learning new skills and knowledge. Not only do service-learning courses enrich a student’s learning experience, but the course fulfills portions of the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE).

Study Away

Contact Information

Website: www.uis.edu/study-away
Email: sap@uis.edu
Phone: (217) 206-8319
Location: BRK 483

The Study Away Program (SAP) supports engaged learning experiences for UIS students to participate across the United States and around the world. SAP primary service areas include: study away programs; international faculty and staff application assistance for visas and permanent residency; and consultation and support for faculty, departments and colleges interested in exploring and developing USA and international initiatives.

SAP offers a variety of study away student opportunities with some hosted by UIS and others by university partners and university networks. Program models include:

  • Short-Term UIS Faculty-led Program (semester break, spring break, or summer)
  • International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) & Partner Direct Enroll Programs & SAP; summer and semester; ISEP, Partner Institution & SAP
  • UIS Partner Programs; 1-2 semesters; partner institution & SAP
  • UIS Non-Affiliate Independent Programs; varies – short-term, semester; university network
  • National Student Exchange Program (NSE); semester, university network

Study Away engaged learning experiences can facilitate developing real-world competitive advantages over those who do not study away, such as those below:

  • Increase fluency in another language
  • Acquire a broader cultural perspective
  • Obtain a better understanding of the thoughts and opinions of others
  • Enhance ability to achieve goals independently
  • Develop unique employability skills that set students apart and can be incorporated to enhance resumes

All Study Away courses require instructor approval prior to registration. Students completing courses offered under the auspices of SAP receive ECCE Engagement Experience credit and may request ECCE Global Awareness credit by submitting a Student Petition for UNI 460,  UNI 470 and UNI 480.

Beyond offering student programs, SAP is also involved with U.S. and international online education, collaborates with universities globally by creating university affiliation agreements, supports visiting and permanent international faculty and staff in applying for visas and permanent residency, and oversees compliance with the U of I Board of Trustees International Travel Safety Policy which promotes the safety and security of those traveling outside the United States for system-related and approved activities.